Friday, June 29, 2018

Cream Tea at The Queen’s Pantry

Today, I did some shopping in Atlanta and since it is National Cream Tea Day in England (International Cream Tea Day to me), I celebrated at The Queen's Pantry in Marietta. 

Samantha, the owner of The Queen's Pantry, offers Cream Teas on Fridays.  She has three seatings and if you are visiting Atlanta or live in the area, you simply must call for a reservation at 678.483.0900.  They are located at 4235 Merchants Walk Drive, Marietta, Georgia.

This is the menu for the Cream Tea:

The Queen was watching so I made sure to mind my tea's and q's.

The tea sandwiches were served with a side of Branston Pickle, which I love.

The scone was served with clotted cream and strawberry jam, of course.

Perfectly steeped black tea in a dainty teacup.

I was very impressed with the presentation of the arrived on a tea plate and doily, with an after-dinner mint, and a thank-you note from Samantha!  Now I am spoiled and will be disappointed at restaurants in the future when I receive my check without a thank-you note!

Customer service is everything and Samantha went out of her way to make my visit a memorable one.  She deserves my "5 Silver Teaspoons" award!

After tea, I did a bit of shopping.  The Pantry has a wide assortment of tea accoutrements and British foods & party supplies.

Thank you for visiting with me today.  I hope that you have enjoyed the Cream Tea posts this week and that you might have learned something new about Cream Teas!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Recipes for a Cream Tea

Whether you entertain friends for tea or just enjoy a tea by yourself, a Cream Tea is a delightful way to relax.  The de rigueur scones with clotted cream and jam is not something one should probably eat every single day--just a once in awhile decadent treat.

As with most recipes, you can start from scratch or use packaged items or mock recipes. I have included both:

Scones - From Scratch:
British scones are more dense and slightly drier, and more crumbly than our American biscuits. A British scone is not as sweet as a scone you will find at your local American bakery.

British Scone
2 c unbleached all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cold
2/3 c milk
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp milk (to glaze)

In a medium bowl, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter.  Rub the mixture together with your fingers to break up the butter, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the milk and mix with a wooden spoon just until the dough comes together and no lumps remain.
Dust the dough with flour and place it on a lightly floured countertop. Press the dough into a round that is roughly 1" thick.
Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into 2" circles.  Place the rounds onto a greased and floured baking sheet.
Let the scones rest on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 425F.
Just before putting the scones into the oven, brush them with the egg yolk and milk mixture.
Bake the scones for 12-15 minutes, until golden and firm.
Remove the baked scones from the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes.

Yields 8 (2") scones.
*recipe from Curious Cuisiniere
Please be sure to cut your dough into circles, not triangles!

Scones - Mix
I love Garvey's Traditional Scone Mix .  They are easy to make with half the mess of the scratch recipe.

For an even quicker scone fix, try Haywood and Padgett ‘Sultana’ scones.  They are available on Amazon or you might find them at your local British pantry. They are yummy!

Unfortunately, we can’t get the British favorite Rodda's Clotted Cream here in the U.S.  We have to make do with making our own.

Clotted Cream - From Scratch

Clotted cream is a silky yellow cream with a crust on the surface.  It is made by heating unpasteurized heavy cream which is then left in a pan for many hours, which causes the cream to rise to the surface and ‘clot’.
You will need:  1 pint of heavy cream (do not use ultra pasteurized).
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Pour the heavy cream into a 9 x 9 pan.  Place in oven and bake for 12 hours.  Spoon the thick top layer of the cream into a container and chill in the frig for 12 hours.

Mock Devonshire Cream
(Don’t judge.  It's easy.)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp white vanilla extract
1 8 oz carton sour cream
Beat whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff.  Fold sour cream into this mixture and refrigerate.

Strawberry Preserves
(From Martha Stewart)
Yields 2 1/2 cups
2 lbs strawberries, hulled
1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar

Put strawberries and lemon juice in a large saucepan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until juices are released, about 40 minutes.  Stir in sugar.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture registers 210 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.  Let cool completely; skim foam from surface with a spoon.  These preserves can be canned and stored for up to one year.

I prefer to keep everything as simple as possible.  Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves Is my favorite and, of course, they offer many delicious flavors.

Thanks for visiting with me today.  I’ll be back tomorrow after I enjoy a Cream Tea at a British tea establishment.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cream Tea

Tea time is anytime, however, there are certain names for special times of the day to take tea--Breakfast Tea, Elevenses, Afternoon Tea, Light Tea, Royal Tea, Silver Tea, High Tea, and Cream Tea.
Cream Tea is one of my favorites teas!  This British tradition is a light repast that originated in Southwest England. It is served with tea & scones and must include jam and clotted cream.
National Cream Tea Day will be celebrated in Britain this Friday, June 29th.  Since I’m a tea and scone enthusiast, I am enjoying a tea today and will share with y’all the etiquette of a Cream Tea.  Tomorrow I will talk about Finessing the Scone, on Thursday I will offer some Scone/Cream/Jam recipes, and on Friday I’ll post about a visit to a tearoom to enjoy a proper Cream Tea.

I have chosen to enjoy my tea today as a "Low Tea," versus a "Seated Tea," (at the dining table).  A Low Tea is enjoyed while seated in a comfortable chair or seated on a sofa.
I am using a tea table to hold my tea tray.

I will begin by placing my serviette/napkin (12" square) onto my lap.  The serviette is opened fully and placed on the leg area just above the knees.
My tea for today is Harney Tea's ‘Florence’  tea.  It is a chocolate hazelnut black tea.  I love flavored teas!

Since I’m serving myself, I will pour the tea, which was steeped with tea leaves, into my teacup through a silver tea strainer. (The strainer is designed to fit over the teacup to catch tea leaves that escape from the pot when the tea is poured). After the tea is strained, the strainer is placed over a small silver bowl.

What is this??? It’s a Waste Bowl, also known as a Slop Bowl.  It is used for the spent tea leaves (if your tea strainer becomes full) or for emptying the end of a cup gone cold.

The tea plate will rest on the serviette.  The teacup and saucer is held in the palm of the left hand or left on the tea table.  Just remember that the teacup and saucer are never more than 12" apart.
Now I’m off to enjoy my tea this delicious scone.

But, how to add the cream and jam to the scone and how to eat it?  I will be back tomorrow to discuss "Scone Etiquette."  And yes, there are several correct ways to eat a scone!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My Harney Tea Collection

My love of tea started very early in my life.  Like most Southerners, I was introduced to iced tea at a young age.  Over the years I have experimented with various flavors of iced and hot tea and all of the varieties of tea.
This is my hot/iced tea collection--including all varieties of tea.

All tea comes from the same plant, a first cousin to our southern camellia bush--Camellia Senensis (a warm-weather evergreen).
It is the region it was grown, time of year picked, stages of processing, and contact with oxygen that determines the types of tea and their flavors.
Stages of Tea Processing:
Withering--done by spreading tea leaves to wither and become limp.
Rolling--done by machinery to rupture the leaf cells.
Oxidation--process that exposes the leaf juices to air.
Firing--done by applying heat to stop any further chemical changes and dry the leaf.
Sorting--grades the sizes of the leaf.
Varieties of Tea:
White Tea--is produced in Southeast China.  It has a very delicate, sweet and light flavor and has very little caffeine.  This is the least processed tea and is high in antioxidants.
Green Tea--is produced in China & Japan.  It has a grassy, vegetal or nutty taste.  It is non-oxidized and high in antioxidants.
Oolong Tea--is produced in China and Taiwan.  It has a rich and fruity taste.  It is partially oxidized and aids in digestion.
Black Tea--is produced in China, India, and Sri Lanka.  It has a rich taste and can be enjoyed with milk, lemon, sugar, or honey.  It is fully oxidized and may help to lower your cholesterol.
Tisanes--are herbal infusions and made from flowers, bark, fruit, and leaves; not from the tea plant.
Rooibos--is produced in South Africa and has a sweet and nutty flavor.  It is caffeine-free and high in antioxidants, rich in vitamins, and natural minerals.
I truly cannot pick a favorite variety of tea.  I love them all!  Obviously, I’m partial to Harney Teas.  I have been sipping their teas for many years and never tasted one I didn’t like.
To sit and have a cup of tea is one of the most relaxing things you can do.  It is not the actual drinking of the tea, but the ritual of boiling the water, preparing the tea, and patiently waiting and anticipating some quiet time.  It slows you down from your hectic pace and gives you a chance to take a deep breath and relax.  It is a gesture of hospitality that is universal.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Manners vs Etiquette

I’m often asked “What’s the difference between Manners and Etiquette.”

The English gentleman in the photo above, etiquette expert William Hanson, is showing the proper/improper way to hold a teacup.  

In the photo on the left, he’s demonstrating how to hold the teacup in the proper way.  A handled teacup is held with the index finger through the handle, the thumb just above it to support the grip, and the second finger below the handle for added security. The next two fingers follow the curve of the other fingers. 

In the photo on the right, Mr. Hanson is a demonstrating an etiquette faux pas by extending his pinky finger while holding the teacup.  It is considered an affection to raise the little finger, even slightly.  

Etiquette is the rules of correct and polite behavior in society (knowing how to treat people).  Etiquette is a French word from yesterday for today--"little sign."  In the 17th century, King Louis XIV had a magnificent chateau with beautiful gardens and parks all around it.  Often, when he hosted parties, people would walk all over the grass, pick the flowers, wade in the fountains, and leave litter behind.  They didn’t have formal gardens at their own houses and didn’t know how to behave.  The head gardener went to the King in great distress and asked what he could do to keep things nicer.  They decided to put up "little signs" all over the place:

~Keep on the paths

~Enjoy the flowers, but please don’t pick them

~Stay out of the fountains

~Please don’t litter

Etiquette still is simply a collection of "little signs" to guide us in all situations.

Good Manners are simply doing your best to follow the rules of etiquette (how your treat people).  So, you should never point someone out for commiting an etiquette faux pas.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

My Kate Spade Handbag Collection

I can remember my first Kate Spade handbag.  It was the black nylon "Sam" bag.  I bought my first one at Goldsmith’s Department store at the Oak Court Mall in Memphis, Tennessee.  I thought it was so tres preppy chic!  I ended up purchasing this bag several times over the was such a practical and ever-so classic bag.

Looking at this bag takes me back to the days I wouldn’t leave the house without it or my "Rouge Star" Chanel lipstick, a totally black outfit, and black Chanel flats.  

Fast forward and this is my humble KSNY cheerful bag collection today.  The "Quinn" bag is clearly my favorite--it’s the same shape as the "Sam" but in all the colors that speak to my matchy-matchy self.  It is such a timeless, classic-preppy bag and looks even cuter when adorned with a bag charm or scarf.  Definitely NOT the high-end KSNY bags, but they are the ones that I love.  The Metro totes and crossbodies are also my faves.

These two bags are on my "short list," because I need to complete my KSNY color wheel y’all. 

I mean, how adorable would the orange bag look with an orange clic-clac and tortoise shell accessories? On my list!

This lemon yellow bag would look adorable with kelly green pants and that cute lemon cardi from J Crew!

Okay, so I got off subject.  But don’t you think Kate Spade made adorable (and practical) handbags for all of us?  Whether you shop at Kate Spade signature stores or the KSNY outlet stores, you are sure to find that preppy chic item that will help to bring your colorful outfit together.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Bye Bye Bikini - Miss America

I’m clutching my pearls today y’all.  Every since I was a little girl, I have looked forward to watching the Miss America Pageant every September.   Well, as of today, I’m done.  No more stalking the local and state pageants and trying to pick the winners.  All the fun is gone as far as I’m concerned.  What a great tradition it was!  

Today, the chair of the Board of Trustees of the MAO, Gretchen Carlson (a champion of the #metoo movement) announced that they will no longer judge contestants on physical appearance.  (Insert side-eye emoji here).  What in the world is wrong with being pretty and having a great figure?  There will be no more swimsuit competition.  No more evening gown competition either.  This is the most ridiculous thing ever!  They should just go all in and prohibit makeup as well.


The new Miss America will no longer be a Pageant, but a competition.  (Insert another side-eye emoji, please).  The "competition" will consist of talent and an interview with the judges.  Are you kidding me?  I’m pretty sure America already has more than enough talent competitions; i.e., American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, etc.  So Gretchen, you’re going to have to call your competition something else.  I mean, placing a crown on the head of a pant suited-up talent winner?  

Back in the day (before she sued Fox Network and made millions for a sexual harassment case), Ms. Carlson dressed for success on the set of Fox & Friends--practically wearing a one-piece bathing suit to report the news.  I’m not judging her...just pointing out that as a former Miss America, she used her looks in a big way.  

Remember that crown that was tarnished by former CEO Sam Haskell??  I predict it will be buried in the sand on the beach at Atlantic City by Ms. Carlson. 

Bye Bye Miss America.  At least I still have Miss USA!